We have now passed the half-way point of this year’s pilot stage of the “Anti-Poaching, Tourist Education, and Community Engagement” project, and we are so far extremely pleased with the success and achievements of the project!
Seven Eco-Guards have been hired through a collaboration with MPC and the Moroccan High Commission of Water, Forests, and Desertification Control (HCEFLCD) and Ifrane National Park (INP), made possible through the support of our partner AAP Sanctuary for Exotic Animals. The eco-guards have worked continuously since July to prevent the poaching of infant Barbary macaques from Azrou forest in INP, while also monitoring for illegal logging and other illegal activities, educating tourists on macaque and forest conservation, and managing interactions between macaques and tourists to make Ifrane National Park safe for both animals and visitors.
We are very happy to announce the achievements of the project thus far. Since the project began, three suspected poaching attempts were stopped, thanks to the hard work of the guards and by contributions from the local community. By working together we have been able to protect these monkeys from poachers. The eco-guards monitor several groups of macaques in the area to measure the success of the anti-poaching patrols, and so far there has been zero poaching in the monitored groups! This is in contrast to previous years with these groups – in 2013, 32% of infants disappeared and were believed to have been poached. We are past the most dangerous time of year of late summer when the risk of poaching is most extreme, thanks to the hard work of the eco-guards who patrolled the forest 24 hours every day, and we are confident that with the continued effort of the eco-guards, the macaques will remain safe and wild.
This success would not have been possible without the close collaboration between MPC, HCEFLCD, INP, and AAP, and without the motivation of the eco-guards and local community to protect these macaques and their forest.